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Barnes & Noble Said to Be Likely to End Search Without Buyer

Barnes & Noble Inc., the largest U.S. bookstore chain, is likely to end its months-long search for a buyer without a sale of the company, said five people with knowledge of the bidding process.

Private-equity firms and strategic bidders have backed away from the auction, said the people, who asked not to be identified because negotiations aren’t public. Interest from at least seven potential buyers waned after the first round of bidding, the people said.